WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- The final popular vote count was released Tuesday showing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton with a near 3 million lead over opponent Donald Trump, who secured his presidency one day earlier as the Electoral College voted 304 to 227 in his favor.

The rare phenomenon of a candidate winning the popular vote -- this year by a record breaking margin -- but losing the election has sparked heated debate on whether the electoral college system, which was devised by the country's founding fathers, should still be part of the presidential election.

There are unprecedented signs that the electoral college system is losing attraction.

This year saw the largest number of faithless voters in U.S. history. Seven electoral voters voted for someone other than the candidate who won their respective states' popular vote - two Texas republicans dumped Trump while five Democrats opted not to choose Clinton.

Even more wanted to vote against their designated candidate but were obstructed by rules from doing so.

It is yet unclear of the precise motives behind the faithless voters this year, but records show that some of the faithless voters were driven by the belief that the electoral voting system is no longer suitable for a modern U.S. society.

"I wanted to make a statement about the Electoral College. We've outgrown it. And I wanted to point up what I perceive as a weakness in the system," Margarette Leach of West Virginia said after casting her electoral vote in 1988.

The sentiment against the electoral college seems to be shared across the country. Jan Brewer, a Republican who served as the governor of Arizona, said it's time to scrap the electoral college.

The system had "served its purpose" but "it's pretty disappointing when you think that just a few states really determine who's been elected president," the governor said. "And they get all the attention."

The New York Times, a left-leaning newspaper, ran an editorial Monday bluntly titled "Time to End the Electoral College". In the article, the paper claimed "by overwhelming majorities, Americans would prefer to elect the president by direct popular vote, not filtered through the antiquated mechanism of the Electoral College."

The piece argued that the system is a living symbol of America's original sin. When slavery was the law of the land, a direct popular vote would have disadvantaged the Southern states, with their large disenfranchised populations. Thus politicians proposed a middle way of letting individual states decide how electors in their states should vote.

As recent elections indicate, Democratic party supporters are usually urban dwellers, most of whom reside along the two coasts, leaving the pro-GOP voters to hold on to the vast inland states.

Under this political landscape, the Democrats can easily match the Republicans with popular votes but have a tougher time drawing as many electoral votes as the Republicans, since Democratic supporters are more concentrated in geography than Republican supporters.

In both recent cases where a candidate won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote, it was the Democratic candidate that lost the election.

Wounded by the defeats, the NYT editorial lamented that "it's hard to understand why the loser of the popular vote should wind up running the country."

But John Cochrane, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, said that the electoral voting system is vital in uniting the country from dividing further.

"The electoral college force candidates to attract geographically dispersed support. Moving a swing state from 45 percent to 55 percent is much more important than moving a solid blue or red state from 75 percent to 85 percent."

If presidential candidates prioritize the popular vote, then political views in red or blue states will be solidified and the trench between states will deepen, creating a rift that may result in the repetition of the Civil War, he warned.